Interview with the SubOptic 2019 Program Chair – Dr. Stuart Barnes

Dr. Stuart Barnes, SubOptic 2019 Program Chair.By SubTel Forum, Stuart Barnes
March 19, 2018

Stuart Barnes began his career at the Research Subsidiary of STC (Standard Telecommunications Ltd) after graduating from Queen Mary College, London University with BSc (Hons) and PhD in Engineering.

After 7 years in Research, including 3 years supporting development of STC Submarine Systems first optical repeater, he became involved in turnaround activities in the Terrestrial Fibre and Cable divisions (Market Share increased from 5% to 50%).  He went on to become Deputy Technical Director and subsequently Technical Director in 1995, where he was responsible for the development of STC’s second optical repeater. This repeater is still in production today.

After the acquisition of the Submarine Group by Alcatel he moved to Paris to head up Alcatel’s Optical Recherche Group. In 1999, he Founded ilotron (UK), after a short period with Atlas Venture as an ER he co-founded Azea Networks in 2001, which merged with Xtera Communications Inc. in 2007.

“Of my 40 working years (this September) I will have been directly involved in the subsea industry for 35 years, and I have enjoyed every minute,” he told us candidly.

Stuart answered our questions about his role with SubOptic 2019 with refreshing energy and aplomb. We think you’ll be interested in what he has to say and the conference will benefit under his leadership.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved in the industry. What makes you a good fit in your role?

When I started my career I was fortunate enough to be recruited by STC (then part of ITT) and joined their research facility in Harlow. It was here that fibre optic research effectively started with the seminal paper by Hockham and Nobel Prize Winner, Kao.  I was in fact involved in a small way on the last long haul analogue submarine cable (ANZCAN) trying to squeeze bandwidth out of the dielectric. Then, I was more directly involved in the very first optical submarine system (UK Belgium) working on both the first optical repeater and then on the redesign of the optical cable core.

To continue reading the rest of this interview, please read it in Issue 99 of the SubTel Forum magazine here on page 70.